Two DNR favorites—“Snakes Alive” and the Kids Fishin’ Pond—kick off day No. 1 of the Indiana State Fair and will be offered daily, Aug. 3-19.

Both events will be adjacent to the air-conditioned Natural Resources Building, the center of DNR activities at the State Fair. Check and click on the State Fair link for the entire DNR State Fair schedule to plan your trip.

Interpretive naturalists from across Indiana will talk about snakes Hoosiers might find in their backyards during the “Snakes Alive” program, scheduled at 10 a.m. daily at the 150-seat DNR amphitheater.

The 312,000-gallon Fishin’ Pond located next to the amphitheater is packed with fish ready to be caught and released. Youth fishing is available most days from 9 a.m. to noon and from 4 to 7 p.m. Parents/guardians should check the daily schedule online or in the State Fair program, then stop by the pond to reserve a time for children to fish later that day. Times fill up fast.

Also featured each afternoon is a program with at least one live bird of prey, presented by Take Flight, the Dwight Chamberlain Raptor Center at Hardy Lake, Patoka Lake, Indianapolis Parks and Recreation, the Indiana Falconry Association and As Wings of Eagles Inc.

The ultra-popular Taste of the Wild cookout is Aug. 4 starting at 11 a.m. This is the ultimate food superstar among many State Fair contenders. Visitors can try free samples of steelhead trout, venison, barbecued beaver, pheasant and more, prepared and provided by DNR staff and volunteer groups, including the Indiana Bowhunters Association, Indiana Deer Hunters Association, Indiana Wildlife Federation, Indianapolis Flycasters, Reel Women-Reel Men fly-fishing club, Farmland Conservation Club, Furtakers of America, National Wild Turkey Federation and Northwest Indiana Steelheaders.

Aug. 18 and 19 features Silly Safaris Live Animal Show at 11 a.m. Expect a variety of reptiles, mammals, birds and bugs, and an experience everyone will remember. The Silly Safaris show is sponsored in part by the International Entertainment Bureau.

Like the cookout, snake show and Fishin’ Pond, all DNR activities at the fair are free after paying gate admission. DNR Backyard activities are sponsored by Citizens Energy Group.

Inside the Natural Resources Building, guests will see the old-school floodplain display, which is back for its 26th year. It goes off about every 20 minutes during the daily building hours of 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

On Aug. 11 at 1 p.m., at Mother Nature’s Mercantile in the Natural Resources Building, DNR’s Mike Homoya will do a signing of his new book Wildflowers and Ferns of Indiana Forests, which is available for purchase at the Mercantile.

Visitors to the building also can view native Indiana fish in aquariums, pick up free copies of the latest Recreation Guide and other informational brochures, subscribe to Outdoor Indiana magazine at a State Fair special deal, ask questions of DNR experts, visit the Mercantile to purchase unique outdoors-based items, or just take an air-conditioned break.

Logo courtesy of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources

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